Discover Virginia and American history from three centuries at the Lee-Fendall House Museum. Located in historic Alexandria, this museum interprets the experiences of the people who lived and worked in the house from 1785 to 1969. Explore stories of everyone who has left their mark -- merchants and politicians, enslaved and free African Americans, housewives and actresses, liquor dealers and labor leaders.
Louis Casenove was born into a wealthy Alexandria merchant family of French descent. As a senior member of the family shipping firm Casenove and Co. and as a City Council member, Louis sponsored an expansion of the local railroads and was instrumental in promoting Alexandria banking institutions. After marrying Harriot Tuberville Stuart (the great-granddaughter of Richard Henry Lee, a Virginia signer of the Declaration of Independence), Louis purchased the Lee-Fendall House in 1850 for $3,000 and proceeded with extensive renovations. He modernized the house, proclaiming he wanted it to be "second to none in Alexandria."
Louis installed central heat, gas lighting, and marble mantlepieces. He elongated the windows, raised the roof to create a third story, put in plumbing in the kitchen, and added a call bell system to summon the enslaved and free servants who worked in the house. Tragically, Louis died suddenly in 1852, shortly after the house renovations were completed.